Out and scare whales

03 June, 2022

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We are going to the northern Norwegian fjord Kvänangen approximately 20 miles north of the Arctic Circle. Fishing boats from all over the Norwegian west coast come to this particular fjord during some intense winter months to fish huge amounts of herring. But there are also other creatures that want the herring. In addition to a number of predatory fish and gulls, an unusually high number of killer whales and large humpback whales have also become increasingly numerous. Sometimes there may be conflict.

When fishermen empty and pull up their nets, dead or half-dead herring is also emptied into the sea. Ljudet från båtarnas vinschar sprids långa väger i vattnet och har visat sig fungera som en matklocka. The whales come swimming from several directions to get an easy-to-catch meal. In this situation, it happens that whales can make their way into the fish seine. In the chaos that ensues, the fishing gear is often damaged and the catch is lost. Even the whales can be seriously injured and even die.

The Norwegian “Ocean Research Institute” now wants to try to find a way to reduce the conflict. A research team is currently working on trying to find and develop scare sounds that will keep the whales at bay during ongoing fishing. In this report, we get an insight into the researchers’ spectacular, to put it mildly, spectacular work.

Reportage: Lars-Öivind Knutsen
Photo: Lars Öivind Knutsen, Roberto Lo Monaco, Göran Ehlmé, Simon Stanford, Anders Kronborg
Editor: Apollonia Meleouni, Alexandre Gobatti Ramos

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